The last show at the Hippodrome

We’ve just uploaded to the History Society’s Flickr site all the scans from the programme for “Oklahoma!”, produced by Keighley Amateurs in 1956. This production was significant because it was the last show of any kind performed in the Hippodrome Theatre in town. In fact, the theatre had officially closed a few months earlier but reopened especially for this show. After that the theatre closed for good and was demolished in 1961 as part of the town centre redevelopment.

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The programme is part of the Joy Rundle Collection, donated to the society by Jane Eaman and Mark Rundle in 2023. It contains details of the show plus dozens of adverts for local businesses from the time.

Local Studies Library Visit

A massive thank you to Angela, Gina and Janet at Keighley Local Studies Library for hosting the History Society yesterday and giving us a comprehensive guide to the different collections held in the archive. Over 20 society members attended and many examples of photographs, postcards, guides and other documents were made available for us to look through.

And they gave us tea, coffee and biscuits! 🙂

As well as being an introduction to the archives for many members, several members were also able to get answers to their own specific queries.

The History Society is looking forward to arranging further such sessions in the future. If anyone has any suggestions for which particular archives you might like the library to bring out for us to look at, please let us know.

Keighley School of Art Talk

A big thank you to Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website, who gave his fascinating, well-researched and richly illustrated talk on Keighley School of Art to the History Society last night.

And thank you to everyone who came along (despite the England match!) or who joined us on Zoom.

Next month’s talk will be by Tim Neal, marking 120 years of Keighley Library, on 14th August 2024 at 7.15pm in the Library.

Keighley School of Art Talk

A reminder that July’s monthly meeting will be on Wednesday 10th July 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library.

The guest speaker will be Colin Neville, curator of the Not Just Hockney website about artists from the local area. His talk is entitled “Keighley School of Art” and will outline the history of the School, from its origins in the Keighley Mechanics Institute, founded in 1825, to its demise as an independent institution in the 1950s. He will also present illustrated profiles of some of the most successful local artists associated with the School, including Silsden artists Jack Clarkson, Dorothy Wade, and Augustus Spencer, as well as artists from Keighley and Haworth, including Joe Pighills, Frances Watson Sunderland, Annie Hugill, Frank Roper, Allan Laycock, George Demaine, and Alex Smith.

Colin says: “For over eighty years, the Keighley School of Art (later renamed Keighley School of Art and Crafts) was regarded as one of the most progressive and successful in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This was largely because of the strong-minded and talented people involved in its history and development. People like Walter Smith, the first Head of the School: one of eleven children from a working class background, Smith was a passionate advocate for the role of art in the lives of ordinary men and women; local mill owner, Sir Swire Smith: art lover and philanthropist; he had a significant influence on securing national funding and recognition for the School; Tom Butterfield: a talented artist himself, as its Head he successfully steered the School through the last years of the 19th and into the 20th century with his progressive and humane leadership; and Alfred Rodway, the School Principal 1927-1939: another committed and determined character who oversaw a big expansion of craft courses at the School during the late 1920s and 1930s.”

As well as speaking, Colin will have a selection of some of his books on local artists available to buy on the night. The books cost £5 each (cash only please). A lot of his books are also available to browse in Keighley Local Studies Library.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7.15 pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Colin’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm.

Anyone is welcome to come along and if people wish to join the society they can pay in cash on the night (membership for the rest of 2024 costs £15 or £20 for a couple living at the same address). History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Members-only Library Visit

As you may have read about in the newsletter, the History Society has arranged a members-only session at Keighley Local Studies Library for Saturday 13th July, from 10 am to 1pm.

Members of the Library staff will give us a brief overview of the Local Studies Library and then let us look through some of the archives they hold. These will include the collections of the Keighley Photographic Society, collections from the ‘BK’ archive (a serial code notation that includes trade posters, carte de visite, family photo albums and the collections of some notable Keighley figures like Dr Scattery), and a taster of the Ian Dewhirst Archive that is still being worked on.

There are around 30 places available. Tim Neal has sent an email to members (please check your spam folders in you haven’t seen it). To book a place please reply to Tim’s email. We will allocate places on a first-come first-served basis. We are asking for £2 per person attending to cover costs.

Talking Textiles

A big thank you to Pam Brook who came along to the History Society’s meeting in the Library last night to give her talk on “Material Worth: Textile Innovations in the Aire and Worth Valleys”. She covered the history of cotton and wool weaving in the area from individual hand-looms above cottages, through water and steam powered industrial mills, to the synthetic fibres of modern day, touching upon many local firms along the way.

And a big thank you to everyone who came along. There were around fifty of us in the Library and an additional 15 people joined in on Zoom, so a terrific turnout.

Next month’s talk (on Wednesday 10th July) is Colin Neville talking about some of the fascinating artists who came through Keighley School of Art.

This Month’s Meeting…

Keighley and District Local History Society’s next meeting will be on Wednesday 12th June 2024. It will be held upstairs in Keighley Library. The guest speaker is textiles expert and enthusiast Pam Brook, giving her talk “Material Worth: Textile innovations in the Aire and Worth Valleys”.

Pam says: “Bradford was always known as ‘Worstedopolis’ but Keighley and District was known for innovative experimentation with fibres such as artificial silk and inventive knitting yarn combinations along with advances in textile engineering. The talk will discuss some of these innovations together with the town’s contribution to the early textile industry, its connections to East Lancashire and the move from handloom to industrial scale weaving.”

Pam was born at Victoria Hospital in Keighley and has lived in the area most of her life. She worked at Hattersley Narrow Fabrics and at Keighley College. Her research sees her using the archives at Cliffe Castle on a regular basis, and she has served on the council of Bradford Textile Society and volunteered at Bradford College’s Textile Archive. She has been an active member of the Keighley and District Local History Society for around four years now.

Anyone is welcome to attend the meeting. Entry costs £3.50 (free if you are a history society member). The meetings are upstairs in the local studies library of Keighley Library on North Street. Doors open at 7pm, the meeting starts at around 7.20pm and Pam’s presentation will begin at 7.30pm. We finish around 8.30pm. Please use the side entrance to the library on Albert Street if you are arriving after 7pm. History Society members also have the option of joining the meeting via Zoom.

Smith Hoyle’s Waters

At last year’s Keighley Show, the History Society was invited to visit Apsley Motors on Victoria Road in Ingrow. The owner of the business was selling up and we had the chance to take photographs of the premises which had once housed the mineral water and bottling factory founded by Smith Hoyle – S. Hoyle Ltd. The owner also wanted to hand over various documents and ledgers belonging to that company that had been abandoned in the roof space of the old factory.

The visit took place in November 2023 and it’s taken us a while to catalogue everything, but we now ready to share the photographs and documents on our Flickr site…

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